Easy How-To Guide to Getting Married in Italy
Italy is one of the most popular locations for destination weddings. When planning your dream wedding, you want it to be perfect. Just imagine a lakeside wedding at Lake Como or an intimate gathering on a terrace looking out to the Amalfi Coast. However, Italy is known for its bureaucracy and the documents needed to plan a wedding in Italy are no exception. We’ve put together this Guide to Getting Married in Italy with that in mind.
When it comes to getting married in Italy, there are many details and logistics to consider. Luckily, we’ve collected the resources you need in this easy-to-follow guide to help you prepare for getting married in Italy.
Getting married in Italy is a beautiful memorable experience for bot the couple and their friends and family
In this article about getting married in Italy, we will cover
- Who can get married in Italy
- Legal Documents needed for marriage in Italy
- Having a friend officiate a wedding in Italy
- Choosing a location and wedding venue in Italy
- Find a wedding planner in Italy
- Cost of an Italian wedding
Who can get married in Italy
Anyone over the age of 18 can marry in Italy. Foreign citizens may marry in Italy through a legally binding ceremony or court wedding in any Italian municipality or a religious rite valid for civil purposes. You do not have to be a resident in Italy to get married in Italy, but you will have to submit the correct paperwork for the marriage to be lawfully recognized.
Most religious weddings in Italy are held in Catholic Churches, but religious marriages of all faiths, including Jewish, Hindu, and Muslim, are recognized in Italy.
In 2016, the Cirinnà law made same-sex civil unions possible in Italy, legally recognizing same-sex relationships and opposite-sex cohabitating partnerships. To establish a civil union, a declaration must be made in the presence of a registrar officer(the mayor or his substitute) and at least two witnesses.
There are some differences between marriage and civil union regarding marital and legal obligations. The most noticeable difference is that there is no obligation of fidelity in civil unions, which is a part of the spousal obligation. Another distinction is the use of a spouse’s surname. In opposite-sex marriages, a wife may add her husband’s surname to her own; in civil unions, however, it is only possible to specify a single surname that represents the family in the civil declaration.
Dissolution of marriage is a long process in Italy, whereas the dissolution of a civil union is almost immediate.
Legal Documents needed for marriage in Italy
Not having the proper documentation and submitting them in time are couples’ biggest mistakes when getting married in Italy. Being prepared with the correct documents is essential in speeding up the application process.
If you are coming to Italy for a destination wedding, getting as much of the paperwork done before coming to Italy is recommended. You can get the documents and follow the procedures at the embassy or consulate in your city. Click here to find Italian embassies and consulates abroad.
Alternatively, you can legally marry in your hometown and hold a symbolic wedding ceremony at your dream wedding venue in Italy.
If you are an expat already living in Italy, be sure to make appointments at your country’s consulate (see links below) and at the city hall where the marriage will take place to get the necessary documentation well in advance of your marriage date.
Documents needed for marriage in Italy
- A valid passport or European National ID card for both parties
- Original or certified copy of the birth certificate for both parties
- Divorce papers or death certificate if you have been previously married and divorced or widowed. Women whose previous marriage was terminated within the last 300 days, must obtain a waiver from the Italian District Attorney’s Office (Procura della Repubblica presso il tribunale) at the court in the city where the new marriage will be performed.
- Nulla Osta or Dichiarazione Giurata, is an affidavit sworn before a consular office of your home country, stating that there’s no legal impediment to your marriage in your home country. Once the “Dichiarazione Giurata” has been issued, you must bring it to the Legalization Office (Ufficio Legalizzazioni) of the local Prefettura to legalize it. If you are coming to Italy from abroad you should get this declaration at the nearest Italian Embassy or Consulate before leaving your country, as some courts may have long waiting lists for this service.
- An Atto Notorio signed by two witnesses, further confirming no legal impediment to your marriage must be done before an Italian consul outside Italy or, in Italy, before a court official in the city where the wedding will take place.
- A declaration of intent to marry at the civil registrar.
You should present all the above-listed documents to the Marriage Office (Ufficio Matrimoni) of the town hall (Municipio) in the city where the marriage will be performed and make a “Declaration of Intention to Marry” (Dichiarazione di Matrimonio) in front of a civil registrar (ufficiale di stato civile). If you do not speak Italian, an interpreter should accompany you.
When all this is completed, you can finally set the date of the wedding. Civil banns or public announcements (such as a newspaper announcement) must be posted at the town hall for two consecutive weeks, including two Sundays, before the marriage can occur.
A Catholic Church wedding may also require some or all of the following documentation:
- Baptism certificates
- Confirmation certificates
- Letter of no impediment to marry
- Proof of attendance of a premarital course
- Local bishop’s permission to marry abroad
Local city and town halls may require additional documents such as the witness’ id documents before the ceremony. Be sure to check with the town’s local authorities where your ceremony will be held. Contact the Registrar’s Office of the town hall where you intend to get married to obtain a definitive list of documents and learn how many days before the ceremony date you need to submit them. A complete list of town halls in Italy is available on this webpage.
Can a friend or relative officiate a wedding in Italy?
First-degree blood relatives cannot officiate weddings but having a friend or distant relative officiate the wedding in Italy is legal according to the Presidential Decree n. 396 of November 3, 2000. However, clauses in the law prioritize the local authorities, which means not all communities grant authorization or make it easy. If you would like a friend to officiate your wedding, submit additional paperwork during the preliminary application process.
You can always choose to hold a symbolic ceremony in front of friends, family and guests at your dream location.
Choosing a City and Wedding Venue in Italy
After you have gotten your documents in order, the fun begins! You can now plan your ceremony and select the perfect venue. The first thing to determine if you’re going to have your wedding abroad is whether you want to go to one of the major cities or prefer to stay away from the big city centers.
Many couples select their wedding destination because they want to honor their Italian heritage or feel the magic of a particular town. Expats in Italy generally get married in the spouse’s hometown or the city they are currently living in.
A destination wedding can be a lot of fun and is a great way to offer friends and family an unforgettable experience.
Most wedding ceremonies in Italy take place in churches or town halls. Many of the town halls in Italy were once noble residences and have grand ballrooms and are quite beautiful. Some towns have locations associated and authorized by the municipality (such as historical buildings and villas) and can be designated for the ceremonial use of civil weddings. In many cases, the mayor or a delegated substitute officiates the wedding.
Luxury hotels usually have an in-house wedding and event planner who will help you prepare. Some private villas work exclusively with selected wedding planners. In contrast, others can offer the location and catering, but all the details such as flowers, décor, and entertainment will be your responsibility.
Click here to read about shopping for wedding dresses in Milan.
Find a wedding planner
While you can plan your wedding yourself, having a local point person is an incredible help. Your wedding planner can guide you through the bureaucracy, planning and work behind the scenes on your big day.
Finding a wedding planner is tricky because there are so many options available. While it may seem like the ideal situation, you can end up spending weeks or even months trying to figure out which planner is best for you.
Avoid wasting time by having some clear ideas. You may not have the answers right now, but things will become more apparent as you start the planning process.
Need a wedding planner in Italy? Contact us for a referral.
First consider your needs and preferences. Do you prefer a more traditional approach? Or, maybe you’re looking for something a bit more adventurous and fun. Have a budget plan already worked out and a base number of guests. Regardless of what kind of wedding planner you choose, remember that the ultimate goal is to have a wedding you love while remaining within your budget.
A good wedding planner will be able to work with all budgets.
Things your wedding planner will want to know:
- What kind of wedding do you want? Casual, formal or traditional?
- Where will the ceremony be held?
- How will guests get to the reception venue?
- What kind of venue would you like to get married at? Inside a garden labyrinth, a villa by the lake, a luxury farmhouse?
- Will it be a legal or symbolic ceremony?
- How many guests will be attending?
- Where will your guest be arriving from?
- Do you need to arrange accommodation for them?
- Do you want to plan pre and post-wedding activities and excursions?
- Do any of the guests have special needs or disabilities?
- And most importantly; What is your budget?
Have questions about getting married in Italy? Contact us for a referral.
How much does a wedding in Italy cost?
If you’re planning a destination wedding in Italy, you’ll want to choose a location and a venue that will provide you with the perfect backdrop for your big day. Once you decide which style your wedding will be, you’ll need to consider what type of wedding venue you’d like to use and how much it will cost. The total cost of a destination wedding in Italy for 100 guests can range from 8,000 EUR to as much as 180,000 EUR, depending on your choice of location, venue, catering options and if you will be offering accommodation or excursions to your guests.
Prices will differ from region to region. For example, a luxury wedding in Lombardy will cost more than in Tuscany or Umbria.
An introductory price plan for 100 guests
|Wedding dress||From €500 to €2500|
|Men’s formal wedding suit||From €500 to €1500|
|Wedding rings||From €400 to €1000|
|Photography/Videography||From €800 to €2500|
|Wedding favors||From €500 to €1500|
|Flowers and décor||From €500 to €1500|
|Venue and catering||From €5000 to €15000|
|Bridal transport||From €200 to €1000|
|Entertainment||From €400 to €1800|
|Total cost||From €8300 to €24600|
Of course, prices will vary according to the wedding’s region, venue, and style. Other expenses to consider include hair and makeup for the bride, transportation and accommodation. If you want to hold your prenuptial bachelor/bachelorette parties in Italy, that would also be another cost to consider.
Although there is a lot to plan and consider when planning a wedding in Italy, the memories that you create will be magical.
Would you like to go wedding dress shopping in Milan? Contact us for a referral.
Useful Links for getting married in Italy
Milan Municipality Civil ceremonies in Milan
All Saints Anglican Church of Milan, religious ceremonies in English
Consulates and Embassies
Much of your paperwork should be done at an Italian consulate or embassy in your home country. Click here to find Italian embassies and consulates abroad.
Your embassy will provide you with an information pack with the required documents. Contact your embassy or consulate to learn more about getting married in Italy.
If you are already living in Italy go to your consulate or embassy in Italy. Embassies are found in Rome and some consulates are found in large cities such as Milan, Florence and Naples.
Local town halls in Italy
A complete list of town halls in Italy is available on this webpage.
Article by Celia Abernethy, Features Editor Easy Milano
Easy Milano makes every effort to provide accurate and updated information. The information in this article is not intended to be legal advice. Consult a professional and refer to the correct agencies and offices for exact procedures and requirements; links are provided in the article.
Easy Milano is the online publication for the international community of Milan. We offer practical tips, key information and essential insights about living and working in Italy. Easy Milano has been assisting English speaking expats in Milan since 1999.
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